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Toscanini in Britain


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During the 1930s Arturo Toscanini conducted many concerts broadcast by the BBC from London's Queen's Hall, where he also made some unsurpassed recordings. Drawing on newly researched material in British and American archives, Christopher Dyment reveals how the most renowned and influential conductor of the twentieth century, notoriously microphone-shy though he was, came to conduct so frequently in London, a tale replete with unexpected twists, turns and ingenious stratagems. Toscanini's dominating influence on London critics and audiences in the period covered by the narrative, extending through to his final appearances at the Royal Festival Hall in 1952, is copiously documented from contemporary sources. Dyment also presents fresh evidence showing how the remarkable combination of passionate conviction and architectural mastery that characterised Toscanini's conducting was grounded not only in his obsessive study of the score but also in his awareness of performing traditions dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.
This book will fascinate those with a particular interest in Toscanini's career and recorded legacy. It is also essential reading for anyone with an interest in the history of conducting and recording in the first half of the twentieth century, set against the vividly evoked backdrop of London's concert scene of the period. This comprehensive study includes both an annotated table of all Toscanini's London concerts and his EMI discography.

CHRISTOPHER DYMENT has written extensively about historic conductors since the 1970s, particularly Felix Weingartner and Arturo Toscanini. His first book, on Weingartner, was published in 1976.


[A] definitive scholarly study. FONTES ARTIS MUSICAE A remarkable volume. MUSIC AND LETTERS

This excellent book provides detailed accounts of Toscanni's London concerts and recordings, and their critical reception ... Dyment's book, beautifully produced, is essential reading and thoroughly recommended. CLASSICAL MUSIC's Books of the Year, December 2013

An outstanding new book.which covers in detail every aspect of the great conductor's visits. INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

This book, an exhausting, exhilarating read, unearths a huge chunk of how much we still haven't learned about Arturo Toscanini. OPERA NEWS

Christopher Dyment has produced a major scholarly work, one that is a welcome reference tool and adds considerably to Toscanini's profile. FANFARE

Dyment has unearthed a great wealth of background material [...] [he] has the knack of leading the reader onwards to find out what happens next, rather as in a good detective novel, through the quality and expressive nature of his writing style. CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY

Highly recommended. CHOICE

Dyment's book, beautifully produced, is essential reading and thoroughly recommended. CLASSICAL MUSIC

[A]n unreserved recommendation for Dyment, whose beautifully styled prose is a joy to read and whose extensive research can only serve to enhance our understanding of this towering figure. GRAMOPHONE


First Published: 15 Nov 2012
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843837893
Pages: 398
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press
BIC Class: AV

Details updated on 06 May 2016


  • 1  Foreword by Harvey Sachs
  • 2  Introduction
  • 3  Arturo Toscanini - Chronicle of a life, 1867-1957
  • 4  
  • 5  1900-30: Towards the Philharmonic Tour
  • 6  1931-35: The London Music Festival 1935
  • 7  Recording the 1935 concerts
  • 8  1936-37: The London Music Festival 1937
  • 9  The first HMV recording session
  • 10  Autumn 1937: Two choral concerts and more records
  • 11  1938: The London Music Festival 1938
  • 12  1939: The last London Music Festival
  • 13  1940-45: War efforts and beyond
  • 14  1946-51: La Scala
  • 15  1951-52: Royal Festival Hall
  • 16  The London recordings - a study in style
  • 17  Annex A. Discography of EMI recordings 1935-51
  • 18  Annex B. The Concerts 1930-52: Programmes and Recordings
  • 19  Annex C. Brahms and Toscanini: an historical excursus
  • 20  Sources and Bibliography

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